NEWSLETTER August 2021


“Winnie The Pooh was so surprised he almost dropped the honey pot, much to Piglet and Tigger’s delight.”

Oh what fun we had! The Family Fun Day on Sunday 1st August was a resounding success.  There was a lively touch tournament with a supremely handcrafted cake for the winners, there was some quality bouncing in the castle and rumours of vocal performances after the bar closed. It is hard to pin down numbers but there were enough to scoff a couple of hundred burgers and hot dogs and an outstanding bar take. Without trying to name everyone I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped out and indeed, everyone that turned out.

The aim of the Family Day was to have some fun together after the dreary period of Covid induced separation, to bond in the run up to a new season and to encourage players and friends who had not been down the club for a while, to re-engage.  The feeling was that we should do more of such events having missed the annual dinner and other celebrations over the last couple of years.  We will also need to create a couple of opportunities for fundraising this season.  To achieve these events we do need more people willing to volunteer and, more importantly, to attend. So, watch this space for further club events before Christmas.

One investment we have made, and I am delighted to be able to announce is the appointment of a Club Coach.  

Dave Samuel is a local lad, having gone to Chiswick School and played for Old Meadonians, now Chiswick RFC, and even a few games for us back in the day.  After a few years in IT in 2010 Dave switched career and joined Isleworth and Syon School as a support staff and rugby coach.  While still there he has also coached at other schools and Middlesex age groups and until this summer at was Player Development Lead and U18 Coach at Ealing RFC’s Academy. Dave lives in walking distance to the Club with wife Karen and sons Thomas and Stephen and is “Passionate about coaching rugby and working with players to help them be best they can be and then enjoying time in the bar with them afterwards.”

Dave will bring current coaching techniques and focus to all aspects of our training and coaching as well as improving skills development.  We are very much hoping that this is a long term arrangement as Dave has made it clear he wants to be a full and active member of OIRFC.  I am sure we all wish Dave success and he will get all our support.

Having had a long and friendly association with Old Isleworthians, I’m very excited and very proud to be taking up the position as Head Coach of the club. I’m very grateful to the club for asking me to coach them and I look forward very much to helping the club on their journey.”

As we prepare for the start of the new season in Middx Merit 3 (first match is at Home on 18th of September) I am also delighted to congratulate one of our younger players who has accepted the role as Vice-Captain in support of Stu.  Having played his early rugby for Bracknell RFC Brooke Avann has been with us for a couple of seasons as an abrasive and aggressive back-rower.  I am sure he will make a massive contribution to the Club on and off the pitch over the coming years.

Talking of contributors, further congratulations are offered to Banger and Paddy aka Peter Bunce and Robert Calmonson at their elevation to OIRFC Vice Presidents was confirmed at the AGM.

Another contributor to the Club, Dan Nevinson, says:

“Going into the new season with a new coach why not have some new stash too? Old I’s have joined up with Halbro as the new official kit supplier. No need to worry about any kit managers waiting for someone to order your size as you can buy all your new stash (which can be personalised FYI) directly from their website straight to your front door. Use this link to take you directly to their website.”

All in all, I believe we are in a strong position for 2021/22 to be a positive season for the Club.  Under Stu’s leadership there is reason to believe we can compete aggressively at this higher level.  Colin Rance is also working hard to ensure we invigorate a Second XV for a decent number of matches as well as supporting Wallace with the Vets.  

On a sadder note, we recently leaned of the loss of two of our former-contributing members.  Our condolences and fond memories go out to the family of John Edwards who taught at the School and played for the Club from 1965 to 1969.  Graham Haslegrave was a regular cricket and rugby member, indeed he played as a school boy in the inaugural November 1957 match and was a VP.  I have strong memories of him as a referee and in the bar afterwards.  His funeral is in Bournemouth on Monday 16th and the family have made a webcast link available.  If you would like to attend virtually please contact Tony Winslade for details.

The theme of this newsletter is about contributing.  There are a number of ways, you dear reader, can contribute to OIRFC as we emerge from the Covid days.  If you are able to run for the bus you are eligible to turn out for at least one of our three teams, if you are able to kick off your slippers for the occasional outing come down and watch as soon as the season starts and if you are able to raise your drinking arm our recently refurbished bar is awaiting your presence.  If you are not capable of doing any of these then get someone to carry you down and I will serve you with a straw.

So, this is a longer letter than we normally send out.  However, as we come out of the long period of covid stagnation there is a sense amongst those of us regularly training or bar propping that this is a watershed year for the Club.  Running a single team, effectively ‘standing still’, is not sustainable.  We need to progress on and off the pitch.  Unfortunately, the RFU are still prohibiting tours but rest assured we will maintain our touring tradition as soon as we are able. Meanwhile, Club events and fixtures are circulated widely in Social Media (please follow us on the various platforms) and in Tony’s emails.  If we are to emerge out of the crisis stronger than we went into it we need your active participation.  See you in the bar ……..



Club Chairman

8th August 2021

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